Cheryl offers: Surprisingly, there was an interesting item in my mail yesterday. It was the Dallas edition of a Medical Directory with an article called “Mind Matters”. I’m intrigued by the brain, so I started reading it. Low and behold, on the second page I found this. “Frontal lobe function, also called “executive function,” is not what you know but how you use what you know. This begins to decrease in many people in their 30s because they simply stop using it. (NOW comes the good part!) Reading a book is fine for your brain; analyzing it, and talking about it with a friend or book club is good for executive function.” Woohoo! Experiencing a book synopsis of a relevant business book focused on women’s business topics, then discussing the contents of the book’s synopsis led by facilitators who ask thought provoking questions is exactly the format for our event, Take Your Brain to Lunch! So now, we can rightfully claim, not only is this a fun event, it’s good for you too. How many other things does anyone get to do that are both fun and good for you? Not enough say I. Join us July 14 for your brain’s “executive function” workout. We’re doing How She Does It by Margaret Heffernan and Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and Raz Aahl. No leotards required!
Cheryl offers: This week at Take Your Brain to Lunch, Randy Mayeux delivered a synopsis of Susan Scott’s new book, Fierce Leadership. In his remarks, he included a few from her “Memo to Managers” which I loved as soon as I heard them. The one item that I was most excited to hear was “Do not, under any circumstances, tell a lie – of either commission or omission. Do not stretch the truth, exaggerate, or make __ up to get out of trouble or make yourself look good.” I love that! Scott has captured exactly what I believe is one of the most important aspects of leadership. Tell the truth, the whole truth. I recall conversations with my own teenagers on this very topic. I wasn’t trying to make them into leaders at the time; I just wanted them to learn the valuable lesson of telling the truth. If you bend or omit the “facts” in any manner, it’s manipulating the truth to suit a purpose, almost always one that benefits the storyteller. Since either telling or not telling leads to the same result: manipulation of the facts to benefit the teller, it’s the same egregious act: lying. The link I see from being transparent to being a leader is clear. We can’t legislate integrity, ever, no matter how many seemingly clever laws we pass. However, if a leader is honest and acts consistently in an honest manner, they will be of integrity. And they will likely be successful and admired. No laws necessary!
Bob Morris has reviewed Susan Scott’s book Fierce Leadership here on our blog. Her earlier book is Fierce Conversations. Here is a key quote from her new book about the importance of such conversations:
The conversation is the relationship. Business is fundamentally as extended conversation with colleagues, customers, and the unknown future emerging around us. What gets talked about in a company and how it gets talked about determines what will happen. Or won’t happen.
A leader’s job is to engineer the types of conversations that produce epiphanies.
A fierce conversation is one in which we come out from behind ourselves, into the conversation, and make it real… It is the unreal conversation that should scare us to death. When you think of a fierce conversation, this authenticity, integrity, collaboration, execution muscle, innovation, emotional capital…
(I’m presenting a synopsis of Fierce Leadership tomorrow at the Take Your Brain to Lunch gathering).
There is one line/one concept that jumps out at you from the seminal book Getting Things Done by David Allen. It is this:
The highest performing people I know are those who have installed the best tricks in their lives.
A trick is a little thing that you actually do to remind you what you have to do to get something done. You know, like putting everything in your briefcase that you need the next day, and then you put the briefcase in front of the door before you go to sleep.
Well, years ago, I was told of just such a trick. I really don’t remember where I heard it. (I have a vague memory that I heard it at a time management seminar put on by Time Design. But I could be wrong). I told this trick at a recent Take Your Brain to Lunch, where I presented my synopsis of Getting Things Done. Doug Caldwell has excerpted that portion of the presentation into a brief video. (Thanks Doug). It involves a piece of paper, and the names of the four people you most often interact with. I think it is worth a few minutes of your time. Take a look.
Cheryl: On August 12, 2009, over 90 women and men attended the inaugural event of Take Your Brain to Lunch focusing on women’s business topics. We were honored by the positive and insightful survey results at the conclusion of the event and will host these every other month starting in January 2010.
Today we announced our second event in 2009 where we will review 2 relevant business books on the consuming theme of work/life balance. This program is open to everyone, not just women. We will continue to focus on the topics which seem top of mind for today’s women; so guys, come on over and hang out with us to learn the inside scoop! On November 11, 2009 Randy Mayeux will deliver 2 books synopsis over lunch at the Park City Club, Dallas TX. The books are The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz and Getting Things Done: The Art of Stressfree Productivity by David Allen.
While I haven’t read David Allen’s book, I read The Power of Full Engagement a few years ago and have frequently recommended it to coaching clients. When I read books, I use a yellow highlighter. On page 5, I found “To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest.” You can tell I was hooked right from the beginning; this truly resonated with my own experience. When I’ve found myself “in the zone” so to speak, these characteristics have been present in spades. Perhaps my favorite toward the end of the book is “When we have blind spots, we can blind side others without even being aware that we are doing so.” How true this has been when I was open to feedback regarding my blind spots, ouch! I loved the stories of “corporate athletes” and found much of the advice regarding changes simple, straight forward, and common sense; and of course, challenging! Simple does not mean easy. Come join us for lunch on Wednesday, November 11 to hear the wisdom in this book along with what Randy will share from Getting Things Done. Networking, good books, dialogue with smart professionals, and lunch, YUM!
Sara is taking some well deserved vacation this week. She will be at Take Your Brain to Lunch!
Click here to register for the November 11 event.
It’s been years since I read the terrific book by Gail Evans, Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman: (What Men know About Success that Women Need to Learn). But this week, I presented my synopsis of this book at the first Take Your Brian To Lunch program. (Congratulations to our blogging team members, Cheryl Jensen and Sara Smith, for their success in the launch of this event, focused on issues of women in business).
As I took a fresh look at this book, something hit me in a new way. We all know the adage, “do what you love, and the money will follow.” (By the way, I’m not really sure I have ever entirely believed this. After all, I love eating Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, but I have not figured out a way to get rich doing so…) But some quotes from Evans’ book really got me to thinking. Here are the quotes:
The ultimate winner in the game of business is not necessarily the person with the most power or the most money or the most fame. Rather, it’s the person who loves his or her work. Loving what you do is self-empowering.
If you can’t keep finding ways to maintain your enthusiasm for your job, you’re going to get flat.
Gail Evans is certainly concerned with financial rewards for women. But the book is about that, and so much more. It is about standing, her place in the (corporate) world, her influence. And it hit me. If you don’t love what you do, the people around you will know that, and then you have no credibilty (what Aristotle called ethos). You cannot be a thought leader, a pace setter, if you have no passion for your work. You have to love what you do to have such passion — to develop, and maintain, ethos. To actually have a position and reputation of influence, you have to matter (in a business sense, not just a personal sense) to those around you. And this means to matter to those around you, in the sense that your leadership, your ideas, your thoughts, your very presence, matters.
So — if you think that you do not have enough influence, maybe you are in the wrong arena. Because if you truly love what you do, there’s a pretty good chance that influence will follow.
• You can order the synopses of my original presentation of Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman, and also of the book Women Don’t Ask, which I also presented at the Take Your Brain to Lunch event, at our companion web site, 15 Minute Business Books.